An unknown season of classical music, opera and live dance
With the summer art scene almost upon us, I offer a tip. Buy your tickets early.
A second tip is to learn to love your GPS, as most organizations use new venues to perform outdoors.
This year, very little will be known to the public.
To accommodate federal and state safety guidelines, traffic to most sites will be extremely limited. It also appears that the number of performances will decrease as well. And, to find outdoor performance spaces, there has been a lot of innovation.
As an example for adjusting spaces and how that affects ticket supply, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center recently announced the season for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The band will perform twice a day, almost every Sunday from mid-June to the end of August at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm in Saratoga. Seating is limited to 200 people per performance and tickets went on sale to the general public on April 6. The entire series is already sold out.
The remainder of the SPAC season is also abbreviated. The New York City Ballet appears on the main stage of the amphitheater for 6 performances from July 14 to 17.
Except that it will not be the entire company that will play. “NYCB Onstage and Off” is made up of 15 dancers who will be accompanied by company pianists. The performances of approximately 75 minutes will include excerpts from the company’s repertoire. A principal dancer from the company will act as the host, providing insight into the dance, its history and the technical requirements of the piece.
But even if this unique substitution isn’t to everyone’s satisfaction, it’s likely to sell out quickly. The amphitheater will be limited to 20% of its capacity and the lawn will also be limited by socially distant pods.
COVID protocols will be in effect for all events. Masking is mandatory at all times and entry will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the performance.
This limited seating capacity will also affect other events at PSPC. The Freihofer Jazz Festival has been announced from June 26-27, but no further information is available yet. It is almost certain that the Philadelphia Orchestra will be at PSPC this summer, but no official announcements have been made as to dates or lineup. Both events will certainly be limited in terms of audience.
One organization in the region that will be affected is Opera Saratoga, which just announced its 2021 season this week. In a season based on the adventures of Don Quixote. One of the three events is a fully staged production of the musical “Man of La Mancha”, July 8-10. All three performances of the beloved musical will be offered at the PSPC Amphitheater and subject to its restrictions.
Another Saratoga opera performance this season is “A Quixotic Opera”. It is a concert that takes advantage of the talents of the artists of the company’s young artists program. It consists of scenes from seven operas based on the story of the knight errant.
An outdoor and immersive event, it will be presented at the Colombia Pavilion in Saratoga National Park. There are three performances each day, July 14-18.
The other event is the only opera on the program, “Don Quixote at Camacho’s wedding”. There will only be two performances of the comedy opera short at the 200-seat High Tunnel Greenhouse at Pitney Meadows Community Farm on July 24-25.
Glimmerglass Opera has also scheduled a limited season performed outdoors in a newly designed limited capacity performance space on the grounds of its Cooperstown facility. The season which runs from July 15 to August 17 consists of several classical and contemporary operas. All of them have been redesigned to play around 90 minutes without an intermission.
The seating arrangement is a combination of squares that can accommodate 1 to 4 people and boxes or tables that can accommodate 1 to 6 people. Single ticket purchases are discouraged and strict COVID protocols are in place, including proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. The Berkshires are also limiting their performance schedules. Tanglewood Music Festival has not announced its audience limits as legal requirements change weekly. But social distancing requirements – which likely won’t change – require a reduction in capacity. The season will only last about six weeks, from July 9 to August 24. All performances will take place outdoors and will last 80 minutes or less, with no intermission. They are only offered on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Fridays will see performances from Boston Pops or other special events. Jacob’s Pillow tries to be innovative with its season which runs from June 30 to August 29. All performances will take place at site-specific outdoor locations on its Beckett, MA campus. Everything will be done in less than an hour. However, due to limited audience capacity, digital streaming of the performances will be available after the live performance closes. Yes, there will be classical music, opera and live dancing this summer. However, it will take planning and maybe luck to be in the audience.
Bob Goepfert is a theater critic for the Trojan Record.
The opinions expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of that station or its management.